Van Bramer gets primary nod

The Brooklyn Paper

Queens Library External Affairs Director Jimmy Van Bramer handily won what turned out to be a rigorous primary contest against Deirdre Feerick, the City Council attorney endorsed by the Queens Democratic Party, in the race for Councilman Eric Gioia’s (D-Sunnyside) seat.

Van Bramer now goes on to face Republican candidate Angelo Maragos in the general election in November.

Feerick called before 11 p.m. Tuesday to congratulate Van Bramer, her spokesman Michael Meenan said. Van Bramer was not available for comment by press time Tuesday night.

“This was a hard fought race where I always kept the interests of the place I love most in the world, the 26th DistrIct, at the forefront,” Feerick said in a statement. “And I plan to continue to work hard for the people in this district.”

Van Bramer had 45.9 percent of the vote, while Feerick brought in 37.3 percent, according to preliminary results from the city Board of Elections. Long Island City corporate attorney Brent O’Leary came in third with 16.7 percent of the vote. A fourth candidate, David Rosasco, was tossed off the ballot but said he would run as a write-in candidate. It appeared there was no write-in slot on the primary ballots, however.

A grand total of 6,565 votes were cast in the race, according to the BOE.

The race for the seat started out genially enough, but allegations that Feerick had taken advantage of the services of a lawyer from the Queens Dems without any cost and that Van Bramer had made illegal use of resources from a for-profit offshoot of the Working Families Party darkened the tone toward the end.

Both sides claim not to have violated any campaign finance laws.

Van Bramer, 40, got his start in politics volunteering for Tom Duane’s successful Council campaign in 1991.

He has lived in Sunnyside and Woodside for 10 years, although not always in the 26th District. In 2001, while living in Woodside, he ran against Councilwoman Helen Sears (D-Jackson Heights) in the race for her 25th Council District seat, losing in the primary by fewer than 800 votes. He moved to Sunnyside Gardens six years ago.

He became the borough’s first openly gay state committeeman in 2004 and has served on Community Board 2 for three years.

Van Bramer, who was born in Woodside and grew up in Astoria, studied criminal justice at St. John’s University thinking he would become a lawyer, but got sidetracked by activism.

He worked as a field director for Citizens Action New York’s “Clean Money, Clean Elections” campaign in 1998, which reformed campaign finance laws for municipal elections. He joined the Queens Library in 1999.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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